Selling old style: on a handshake and without the wife knowing


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Christine and Michael Rennix bought on a handshake in Freshwater. (AAP Image / Julian Andrews)

When Michael and Christine Rennix bought their Freshwater cottage in May 1979, the sale was sealed with a handshake the first time they saw the home, and the vendor’s wife didn’t even know her husband had advertised the property.

“He had a particular home in Curl Curl that he had intended to buy but that was not as yet on the market, so with one viewing, a hand shake on the price and that was it, we had bought our home,” Mr Rennix said.



The weatherboard cottage in Surfers Pde, Freshwater.

“Before I entered the house I knew it would be our home and it was an anxious wait as it was in days of gazumping,” he said.

Those were the days of two-line adverts in the Manly Daily and private sales. However on that occasion the owner had not actually told his wife he had placed the advert.

Today Freshwater is one of the most heavily-searched suburbs in NSW and adverts are glossy double page spreads, backed with sophisticated videos.

The Rennix couple has raised their family in the weatherboard classic at 27 Surfers Pde, Freshwater.

Note the old lining boards in the main bedroom.

The generous north-facing rear deck.

“I have always wanted the home to look original from the facade, I feel that a circa 1910 home deserves that respect, so we extended out and up when our children were little, adding a sunroom, deck, two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs,” Mr Rennix said.

The home now has five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a modern kitchen, lounge and family room opening to a rear deck and a north to rear garden. It also has original lining boards, high ceilings in keeping with its provenance and original wide floorboards.

The country-style kitchen.

Their restored and extended home is a stroll to the beach, village and schools and it goes to auction on Saturday September 21 with a price guide of $2.2 million.

The Rennix family love Freshwater so much they are staying in the suburb but moving into something smaller.


Mike Dunn, of Clarke & Humel, said the house is ready-made for a family and is in a premier tree-lined street that gets very little through traffic.

And yes a handshake may seal the deal but wife Christine knows all about this sale and it is probably that the hands doing the buying of this classic home are raising them at auction.

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